The statistics on online shopping show exponential growth in the business to consumer category of online shopping. The estimation of people who bought goods online in 2017 stands at 1.66 billion people while global retail sales in the same year amounted to $2.3 trillion. The growth projection by 2021 is estimated to be $4.48 trillion. These are staggering figures that suggest it may be time to give online business a shot if you haven’t already.

But before you join the fray, you must find out what is working and what is not. The online selling landscape is ever evolving. What would have been considered a market differentiator a year ago might have become a standard in the present market, and the differentiators have changed to other aspects. This is not necessarily bad as it can only mean the competition is stiffening while the online consumer is getting better service.

For example, a year or two ago impressing online shoppers was built around the following points.

  • Fast shipping
  • Pricing strategy
  • User experience
  • Customer service

Today these have become standard expectations from an online shopper. It also means that if you are starting an online shop, you must not only get these points right, but you must also find new ways to differentiate yourself from the competition.

What Differentiator is likely to work in 2019?

Given that pricing, excellent shipping and navigable websites have become the norm, and online stores will have to innovate a little more to stay above the competition.  Personalization is bound to be what makes your online store stand out in an already crowded online space regarding visibility.

Various customer data from your online store that can help you provide a customized customer experience include:

  • Purchase history-this information allows you to know what products to recommend based on the customers’ past purchases.
  • Search Queries-These enable you to recommend products based on customer’s search history
  • Shopping cart-you can recommend products based on the contents of a customer’s shopping cart or their wish list
  • Social behavior-customers’ social media shares and likes give you insight into what products to recommend
  • Customer segments – although you might not have information on everyone on your database, you can utilize purchase history with similar demographics to make recommendations.
  • Geographic location-regional considerations, such as climates or public holidays in that region can help you come with recommendations personalized to a particular geography


Through online store purchase, history and dates business owners have a window of opportunity to start differentiating their stores by offering a personalized service.